A bill circulating in the City Council would establish a timetable for co-op boards and management companies to issue a decision on applications for residence within 45 days of submission.
The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Lewis Fidler of Brooklyn said he drafted the legislation to curb discrimination among co-op board members while evaluating applications from potential residents. He said his work as an attorney showed him that boards often prolonged their decision to deter some applicants from pursuing admittance to their building.
“Too often, discrimination sneaks in through a side door, by playing games with applications or by simply burying the application once it’s received,” Mr. Fidler said in a written statement. “My bill would not restrict a co-op board’s legal right to reject an unqualified applicant by one iota, but it will give great pause to anyone who would think to reject someone for discriminatory reasons.”
The bill would also require board members to sign an affidavit pledging that they did not discriminate against any protected class when rejecting applicants.
Boards failing to comply with the proposed legislation could receive fines ranging from $250 to $2,000 for the first infraction and up to $15,000 for the third violation. The law would require offenders to refund prospective buyers’ application fees if the board missed the 45-day deadline.
Area realtors favored the bill, saying indecisive boards can jeopardize applicants’ careers, if they need to relocate for a job, or impair their finances, if they have already secured a mortgage.
Susan Goldy, of Halstead Property, said the bill would establish a timeline, including a requirement for boards or property managers to respond within 10 business days to submitted applications and note any missing paperwork.